Friday, March 29, 2013

I'm on Bloglovin!

Google is shutting down Google Reader, which makes me extremely upset, because it's my favorite RSS reader. There are also rumors circulating that Google Friend Connect will also be unavailable in the near future.

So, I've gathered my resources (AKA: asked around the community) and I've decided to offer a new way of following: Bloglovin'. It's really fantastic! The layout is very simple and clean, and I think I might even like it more than Google Reader.

Of course, you can still follow by GFC and email and all that jazzy stuff, but you can follow me through Bloglovin' as well.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thank you, as always, for reading my blog and following me!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Publication Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: eBook (but my hardcover copy is coming in soon!)
Page Count: 568
Synopsis: Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?

Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.

A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters.

Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.
Review: This review is (painstakingly) spoiler free.

   The Infernal Devices is a series that I hold dearly to my heart. I've come to care for all of these characters so much, including the newer ones. And even now, my heart still aches in memory of this book and its characters. This book pulled so many emotions from me: happiness, depression, heartache... Name it, and it's probably true. The way Cassandra Clare has managed to make me feel about all of these characters is phenomenal.

   It's difficult to say goodbye to a series you love. And because of this, I purposely took my time reading this final installment, relishing the last chapters ever to be written in this series. As the characters' stories wound to an end, I could feel pieces of my heart chipping away.

   The relationships in this book are just breathtaking. I'm not talking just talking about the love triangle (though it's definitely remarkable). The familial atmosphere and loyalty throughout the London Institute is just so awe-inducing. And then there's the friendship between Will and Jem, which is without a doubt the most beautiful and perfect friendship I have ever read about. They are more than just parabatai, they are more than just friends, they're soul mates in the deepest sense possible. Without the other, one cannot be the same. They're two parts of one heart. Every memory of their friendship that is mentioned brought tears to my eyes.

   Cassandra Clare has written an incredible love triangle in this series. But here's the fault of a good love triangle: the reader ends up caring for both boys, so regardless of the outcome, it's always bittersweet. And that's Clockwork Princess in one word, I think. Bittersweet. I love Will Herondale and I love Jem Carstairs. Although I've been a strong admirer of Will since Clockwork Angel, I have so much more respect for Jem than any other character in this series. James Carstairs is gorgeous, inside and out, and he will forever be one of my favorite literary characters. The romance in this book is intense, and a bit messed up at times, but it's perfect in its own way.

   Rarely have I ever encountered such a perfect conclusion to a fantastic series. But Clockwork Princess has blown my expectations out of the water. Clockwork Princess has made me sob uncontrollably due to its utter perfection. And after reading the last page of the last book in the series, I feel as if something within me is broken and lost. And I think that's the true sign of an amazing series.

   5 brilliant keys. Wow. I cannot believe I actually wrote a coherent review of this book.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Also Known As by Robin Benway

Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Juvenile US
Format: eGalley
Page Count: 320
Synopsis: Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

Review: This book is so much fun! I had the hardest time putting it down because every page was entertaining, heart-warming, and funny.

   Maggie is a teenage spy--a safecracker, to be more specific. But that's all she gets to do: crack safes. Finally, she gets her own assignment. She must befriend a certain boy named Jessie and make him give her the opportunity to erase his dad's report on spies. Or else she and her family (along with all the other spies in their company) are in big trouble. Maggie is a likable character. She's funny, she's sweet, and she's adorably dorky. She kept secrets from her family pretty often, which was frustrating, but I liked Maggie a lot.

   Maggie's new best friend is named Roux, and she's fantastic. She's fiery, but broken as well, and you can't help but like her! (As well as sympathize with her.) She's funny, brave, and a bit crazy. Jessie, the boy Maggie's assigned to, is amazing. He initially comes across as a huge poseur/loser, but as Maggie gets to know him, he becomes cuter and sweeter. And when Jessie takes Maggie out on their first date? So cute!

   The plot is pretty quickly paced, as the book is quite short. It's extremely easy to fly through this one! There were some twists that I didn't see coming, and I liked seeing how Maggie tried putting the pieces together, along with the help of her friends.

   Also Known As is an extremely cute, funny, and entertaining read that will take readers on a romantic (and thrilling) adventure. I recommend it if you're looking for a light and fun read!

   4 keys.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Divergent Movie Casting News!

Hey, everyone! As you might know, I'm a HUGE Divergent fangirl. Like, Divergent is practically my life. I own three copies of Divergent and four copies of Insurgent. I'm a tad bit obsessed.

So, obviously, I'm always stalking every Divergent fansite... and with the movie in the works, there have been some really exciting casting news. For example, WE NOW KNOW WHO IS PLAYING FOUR. But let's have a quick recap.

First, we got Shailene Woodley as Beatrice "Tris" Prior.
(Source: tumblr)

Then, we heard that Kate Winslet signed on, though there's no word on what part she's going to play. I've heard rumors that she might be playing Tris's mother, or she might even be playing the villain, Jeanine Matthews. We'll have to wait for more news on that!
(Source: empireonline

Then, fans got three at one time!

Zoe Kravitz as Christina, Maggie Q as Tori, and Ansel Elgort as Caleb Prior!

Quickly after that, we found out that Jai Courtney is going to playing Eric!

And today, after long months of impatience, fans have been informed that the actor to play our favorite boy is... Theo James! He will playing our love, Tobias "Four" Eaton!

He's not the Drew Roy I was dreaming to play Four, but I welcome Theo with open arms! Let's take a second to admire him, shall we?
Gorgeous! What does Veronica think about Theo? She says, "Recently I saw Theo James’ screen test with Shailene Woodley, and I was sure within seconds: this was ‘Four,’ no question. Theo is able to capture ‘Four’s’ authority and strength, as well as his depth and sensitivity. He is a perfect match for Shailene’s incredibly strong presence as Tris. I’m thrilled!"

I'm thrilled, too! We finally know who's playing my favorite book boyfriend!

UPDATE: It's been said that Miles Teller will be playing Peter!

What are your thoughts on the Divergent casting so far? And are you excited for the movie to come out? (HECK YEAH!) But until the movie comes out, I'll be (im)patiently waiting for Divergent #3 to come out... Or have a cover... OR HAVE A TITLE.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Format: eBook
Page Count: 328
Synopsis: Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting—or stealing—whatever they want.

No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir—this time, Hale might be the mark. 

Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.
Review: You guys, this book is SO PERFECT, it makes me want to kiss Ally Carter's feet. Ally Carter is, without a single doubt, one of my favorite writers. Her books are always so much fun to read, and this one is definitely not an exception. In fact, I think this is the best Heist Society book to date! (And also, the best Ally Carter book!)

   This book focuses on Kat a lot more than the previous books in the series do, and I liked that a lot. Kat is one of my favorite protagonists because she's relatable, funny, and cunning. She has a really difficult situation in this book. Not only is it risky physically, but also emotionally, as she might lose the boy she likes. Kat is such a fantastic character, and this installment made me like her even more.

   Hale... Oh, W. W. Hale the Fifth. I love the boy, I really do, but some things he did in this book made me want to slap him. He's a broken boy in this book, and it was beautiful seeing Kat try and put him back together. The relationship between these two definitely grows exponentially in this book, which I LOVED. I love Kat and Hale together. They make me so happy!

   The plot in this book is the most intricate and surprising of all of her books, I think. It had so many twists and turns! It was so easy to get absorbed in this book. I could not put it down. It was practically glued to my hand! I had to keep on reading.

   I could ramble on about how much I loved this book, but I think I'll stop. Obviously, I loved this book a lot. Perfect Scoundrels is literally the perfect installment to the Heist Society series. It mixes romance, friendship, suspense, and fantastic characters into one lovely novel!

   5 keys.

P.S. To those who've already read this:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Fangirl (33)

This week, I'm waiting on...
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Expected Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Synopsis: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?
Why I'm Waiting: I want to read all of Rainbow's books, but this one, I think, sounds the best! Sadly, it doesn't come out until September. I sometimes read fanfiction (it's a guilty pleasure of mine), and I can't wait to see how Rainbow incorporates it into this story. Plus, all of Rainbow's books' covers are so, so, so cute!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 468
Synopsis: Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

Review: I have no idea why it took me so long to finally pick this book up. I read Amy & Roger's Epic Detour when it first came out and fell in love with it. I did the same with Second Chance Summer. Morgan Matson should seriously never stop writing.

   Morgan Matson's writing reminds me of Sarah Dessen's. Both authors start with a muted, flawed character with familiy issues, throw in a really cute romance and metamorphosis, and create a beautiful story with a satisfying resolution.

   Taylor Edwards is a bit cowardly. She runs from things when they get too overwhelming, and she doesn't really know how to face her fears. She's a girl with many flaws, but she acknowledges that, and strives to make herself better, which I really liked. Of course, with her flaws, there were times when I kind of disliked her character, but she always returned to my good side eventually.

   Taylor's relationship with her dad is a large part of the book. It was beautiful to see their moments together, to watch their relationship grow. Family is definitely a major focus in this book, and I felt like I was a part of the Edwards' family. I felt like I knew each character personally, especially Taylor's pun-loving father.

   This book tore me up, meaning it made me bawl. I honestly spent like ten minutes straight, just sobbing. I looked like a mess finishing up this book, because I had a genuine pull on each of the characters, and the events that play out were so heart-breaking, so depressing.

   Second Chance Summer is a gorgeous and heart-breaking novel that touches on family values, friendship, and self-discovery. It was sometimes predictable, but overall, I recommend this book to everyone. It'll definitely stay in my mind for a long time.

   4.5 keys.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Publication Date: April 10, 2008
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 320
Synopsis: California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can't hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.
Review: I started this one with sky-high expectations. It seemed like everyone who's ever read this book has fallen in love with it. And yes, Audrey, Wait! is a really fun read, but there are also some problems I had with it.

   Audrey Cuttler is a lively and funny protagonist. Her best friend, Victoria, is just as hilarious and outgoing. These two girls are just incredibly dynamic and I really liked them. Sometimes, they got on my nerves, though, when they indulged in ditsy conversations and the superficial aspects of things. However, overall, these characters were very likable.

   I also liked the love interest, James. He is so cute and dorky and refreshing. He isn't the brooding hottie that is featured in a lot of YA books. Instead, he's the quiet and nervous coworker of Audrey. But don't be fooled. Underneath his geeky exterior is a spontaneous personality and an adorable romantic heart.

   However, there was one major issue that I had with this book: It was so unrealistic. I was constantly rolling my eyes and scoffing at the scenarios that occur. I get the entertainment factor, but it was just so nonsensical, it drove me up a wall! Like, no one would actually care about the girl a song is written about to this extent. And what she buys her dad for Christmas would certainly not end up in magazines. And a company would not send her a reality show request and a BMW. You see what I'm saying? It was so irrational, it irritated me.

   Also, it took me quite a while to get into the book. I felt like some parts were uneventful and really repetitive.

   But anyway, I really loved the ending of Audrey, Wait! It was a bit rushed, but it was also really cute and sweet, and I just really appreciate when things are tied up nicely.

   Audrey, Wait! is a really cute and funny read with vivacious characters and hilarious dialogue. But sometimes, the improbability of it all irked me.

   3.5 keys.

P.S. Did anyone else notice an error of Evan's new girlfriend? She's first introduced as Kayleigh, but then it turns into Ashleigh?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: eGalley
Page Count: 480
Synopsis: Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity–style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.

Review: Mila 2.0 wasn't quite what I was expecting.

   Mila was a likable character. She sometimes grated on my nerves, especially in the beginning, but overall, she was a fine narrator. In the beginning, it's like a typical YA book with the stereotypical "not-fitting-in" scenario. Mila's "friends" are jerks who spend more time staring at their nails than talking to Mila. They seem to only discuss boys. And speaking of boys, it was really strange how quickly and strongly Mila becomes attached to Hunter. She doesn't spout "I love you"s or anything, but after only knowing him for a few days, she seems to think of Hunter as her lifeboat to normalcy.

   I liked the relationship between Mila and her mother. The change in Mila's attitude was interesting to see, and their developing understanding of one another was great. I felt like there were too many unanswered questions about Mila's mother by the end of the book, and by the way the book ended, I'm not sure they're going to be answered in the next installment.

   There were certain passages that I felt were drawn out or even unnecessary. Everything felt sluggish and I wished for the plot to pick up. But there were also scenes that were pure entertainment and action. It was a mixture of dullness and thrill.

   The book definitely got better as it went along. At first, I wasn't sure if I was that invested in the book, but by the end, I realized that Mila 2.0 is definitely worth a read if you're a fan of thrilling sci-fi books. Mila 2.0 is an overall excellent debut, despite some reservations.

   3.5 keys.

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